LGBTQ Community Grills Texas Republicans Over 'Save Chick-fil-A' Bill
Chick-fil-A has remained in the news for quite some time due to their past anti-LGBT sentiments. Recently, Texas' San Antonio City Council voted for the removal of the fast-food chain from the city’s airport due to its turbulent history of discriminatory statements against the LGBTQ community.
Given the revolutionary changes Texas Democrats are trying to make, Republicans in the state are still fighting to keep Chick-fil-A’s doors open in as many areas as they can. The state's Republican party (that control’s the house in Texas) recently lobbied for the "Save Chick-fil-A" bill, which prohibits the government to take any action against the chain, its restaurants, and its employees, The Washington Post reports.
According to The Texas Tribune, the legislation derives from Senate Bill 1978, “which prohibits government entities from punishing individuals or organizations for their membership in, affiliation with, or contribution...to a religious organization."
Members of the state's LGBT Caucus are trying to overturn the bill by attempting to protect the community against discriminatory actions and language. However, in Texas, there is currently no law in place that prohibits employers and institutions from firing employees based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. Rep. Jessica González (D-Dallas) attempted to overturn the bill, but her amendment failed by 65-76.
In spite of the bill's rebuttal, Republicans maintain their stance on the matter, citing that it’s in their first amendment rights to stand up for the fast-food chain. (It’s also Chick-fil-A’s first amendment right to promote what they believe in their business, in this case, it’s religion). Rep. Matt Krause (R-Fort Worth) argues that the bill is only promoting religious freedom and not discriminating any community in doing so.
“Look at the language in this bill,” Krause said. “There is nothing discriminatory in the language. …There is nothing discriminatory in the intent.”
Still, Democrats hold their stance on the company’s anti-LGBT sentiments and point out that the bill makes the LGBT community in Texas feel punished.
“Members, this bill is here, being debated on the floor today, to make LGBTQ Texans feel less than, to make us feel attacked by our government,” state Rep. Erin Zwiener, a freshman member of the LGBTQ Caucus, said. “We are living in history, members. Attitudes toward the LGBTQ community have changed rapidly over the past few decades. Young Texans, in particular, are overwhelmingly accepting of people of all sexual orientations and gender identities.”
In 2012, Chick-fil-A caused a stir when then president and chief executive Dan Cathy spewed discriminatory remarks against gay marriage. “We’re inviting God’s judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at him and say we know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage," Cathy said during a radio interview. "And I pray God’s mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude that thinks we have the audacity to redefine what marriage is all about.”